The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned French President Nicholas Sarkozy for calling, during his visit to Israel, for the deportation of Jews inhabiting communities in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, rendering them judenrein, as well as for Israel to divide Jerusalem. In his address to the Knesset in Jerusalem earlier this week, President Sarkozy said, “Peace cannot be achieved without a complete and immediate cessation of the settlements.” He also proposed that France support plans to reimburse Jews living in Judea and Samaria in order to encourage them to leave of their own accord, in order to facilitate what he called a “two state solution.” President Sarkozy went on to say that, “Peace cannot be achieved without solving the problem of the Palestinian refugees, while respecting the identity and purpose of Israel
Peace cannot be achieved without the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of two states and guaranteeing freedom of access to holy sites for all religions.”
Israeli Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu offered the following reply to President Sarkozy’s proposals in his own speech, “My friend, president, the Palestinians believe that the people of Israel who prayed for two thousand years to return to Jerusalem will give up pieces of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. They are wrong. It will not happen
We will never divide Jerusalem. Just as nobody would ever imagine dividing up any European capital on an ethnic or demographic basis, we too will not allow Jerusalem to be divided” (‘Nuclear Iran is totally unacceptable,’ Jerusalem Post, June 23, 2008).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “President Sarkozy, in violating a cardinal rule of international diplomacy by going to a friendly country and publicly telling it what policy it must adopt on a major question, has weakened Israel by endorsing Palestinian and Arab public demands that are aimed at weakening and ultimately destroying Israel. With these words, he has endorsed the Arab claim that Jews peacefully living in their historical, legal and religious homeland are somehow obstacles to space. Regardless of what a peace agreement may one day look like, no peace can be built on the premise that historical, biblical Jewish land must be judenrein. Why can’t several hundred thousand Jews live in Judea and Samaria while over a million Arabs can live in Israel? This stance demanding the emptying of a territory of all Jews living there is simply racist. By proposing that it should happen, President Sarkozy gives aid and comfort to the Arab diplomatic and terror campaign designed, in the first instance, to drive Jews out of their homes for the purpose of confining Israel to indefensible borders. Anyone who calls himself a friend of Israel should not be doing that.
“It is even worse that President Sarkozy offered French help to Israel in seeking to deport Jews from their homes. France has already a terrible history of assisting the deportation of Jews and it was at the very least insensitive of President Sarkozy to propose that France be of service again in this regard.
“The same applies to President Sarkozy’s words regarding the Palestinian refugee problem, which imply that the problem persists because of Israel and can only be solved by Israel. This is another canard promoted by Israel‘s enemies. The Palestinian refugees and their now millions of descendents are a problem only because the Arab world refuses their resettlement, which is the way every other refugee problem has been solved. Until they change policy, the problem will continue but the fault is not Israel‘s and President Sarkozy, with his reputation for candor, should be saying so loudly.
“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people and was already so millennia before Arabs invaded in the seventh century. It has never served as the capital of another country, not even when the eastern half of the city was illegally conquered and annexed by Jordan, during which time it was neglected and a backwater. Jerusalem is not even mentioned once in the Quran, but is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible. It is not the focal point of Muslim prayers. It has had a Jewish majority since the middle of the nineteenth century and would not even have any significance for Christianity and Islam but for its prior centrality to Judaism and the Bible. Moreover, the city’s prosperity and freedom of religion has only been a reality when united under Israel rule. A Palestinian state under current circumstances would simply be another terrorist state and it is unthinkable that the city be divided, especially with Mahmoud Abbas’ terror-supporting Palestinian Authority (PA) exercising control in half of the city. In any case, what Israel does must be the sovereign decision of Israel and is not a proper subject for public utterances and megaphone diplomacy by any other head of state.
“It is deeply regrettable that President Sarkozy, who has declared his support for Israel for many years, should come on an official visit to Israel and lecture Israel on what it should do on vital questions of its national security and very existence. Except in the case of Israel, we never see heads of state or government lecturing other friendly countries on how they should go about solving their problems or addressing important challenges. This sort of interference is unacceptable everywhere yet when the country in question is Israel, even people who call themselves friends of Israel feel free to make an exception. Yet, how would President Sarkozy react if a visiting Israeli head of state told France what it must do on a matter of importance to France, let alone something central to its concerns? As Israeli scholar Steven Plaut has written wittily, ‘French politicians have long believed that peace could be created by turning Israel into a sort of Vichy appeasement regime
we all agree that territory must not be annexed by force. Therefore, we can also agree that Germany has a moral right to demand the return of Alsace-Lorraine, for the French aggression in 1945 and its consequent occupation must not be rewarded. “A full withdrawal for full peace” should operate here. Further, France must agree to the return and rehabilitation of all ethnic Germans expelled from Alsace-Lorraine after World Wars I and II, as well as all those they define as their descendants.’
“Israel‘s leaders should be making clear their strong displeasure for these unfortunate words from the French President. President Sarkozy has often broadcast his affection for Israel. This speech is a rather strange way of showing it.”